Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Hat For Women Who Have Something to Say (and the woman who inspired it)

I did it!  I wrote a knitting pattern.  I don't so much consider the designing of the hat to be a terribly big deal because I'm comfortable creating with my hands,  On the other hand, writing out directions in a way that is understandable to someone not living in my brain is way out of my comfort zone.  I have never done any graphic design, so that aspect of pattern writing was also a challenge, but I like to live on the edge, and with the help of an incredible tech editor, I do believe that I have written a knitting pattern that I can be proud of.

The image on the hat is based on a block print called, Gossips, by Virginia Lee Burton.  Virginia departed from earth the same year I entered it (1968).  Pity, because I would love to have met her. I have had to settle, instead, for reading the many stories she left behind, with day dreaming myself into her heart filled images and with tales of her life.  I wish I could have been her friend, but I'm happy to simply be one of the many women she inspired.

The little piece below is included in my knitting pattern.  I strongly encourage you to click on some of the links.  Virginia Lee Burton is somebody we should all know about. You can buy the pattern HERE or HERE and the soft, squishy and very Canadian, Custom Woolen Mills Yarn is available at The Mariner's Daughter, in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Virginia lived between 1909-1968. She is best know for her many children’s books, like Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, and The Little House, but she is less known for one of her most impressive accomplishments, The Folly Cove Designers.
Virginia and her husband, George Demetrios, settled in Folly Cove, a neighbourhood in Cape Ann, Massachusetts, in 1932. The Folly Cove Designers began in 1938 with a barter between Virginia and her neighbour, Aino Clarke. Aino would give violin lessons to Virginia’s son and Virginia would teach design to Aino.
This simple neighbourly exchange led to more neighbours wanting art lessons and eventually blossomed into a very successful community design guild. Virginia believed that everyone was inherently creative and encouraged her students to draw from their daily lives. Most of the Folly Cove designers were women.
There’s so much to say about the Folly Cove Designers, but the part that touches my heart most is that one woman, with an incredible talent, lifted up so many other women in her community. Her belief that everyone is inherently artistic and her willingness to share her own talent with her community, made it possible for many women in a small, tucked away community to both discover their own artistic abilities and to earn a living.
I first came across the work of the Folly Cove Designers while working as a dancer in Cape Ann. Gossips is the piece that whispered to me. It smiles at our sometimes good and sometimes not so good human nature.
I don’t know for certain what the women in my hat are saying, but I think that, like Virginia herself, they are encouraging each other and finding ways to make their lives better. I’m pretty sure it’s Good Gossip. 


The Block Print, Gossips.  If you are in Gloucester, MA, be sure to stop in to the Cape Ann Museum to see some of the work of the Folly Cove Designers.

An Interesting article about the Folly Cove Designers

This book by Barbara Elleman is beautiful.

There's also a film called, A sense of Place.  I haven't seen it yet.


Lilbitbrit said...

I love the thought that the design is from Virginia's block print. I stayed up in Cape Ann just down from Folly Cove, over a year ago and just loved it up there. An inspirational area to live in as I feel yours is too.I think one can be inspirational and creative anywhere, but do feel that surroundings can help, both what is inside and outside.

hatjunkie said...

It is an incredible and inspirational area.

Unknown said...

Nice blog post. Thanks for sharing :)

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